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Joy Bombs

“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11, ESV

If there was ever a need for joy in our world, it’s now. But can we really expect anything more than the resonant discord and blatant disregard for humanity that runs rampant in our streets and across our airwaves? It’s true the world with its plentiful array of extravagant resources can bring moments of happiness, but lasting joy—never.

The culpability for our lack of contentment doesn’t lie at the feet of fallen humanity. Can darkness bring forth light? The lack of contagious joy in our world rests at the heart’s door of Christ followers who fall far short of being the conduits of joy we’re purposed to be. If believers adopt the despondent mindset of fallen humanity, what hope do we have for joy to permeate our society?

Christians are called to be lights in the darkness, to exhibit joy in the midst of mundaneness and sorrow. A believer’s heart holds the one necessary ingredient for joy—the love of Christ. Joy issues from an overflow of that love. Galatians 5:22 mentions the attributes of a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit. Love and joy top the list. One does not come without the other, and joy never precedes love.

Earlier this year our women’s Bible study group enjoyed Margaret Feinberg’s study, Fight Back with Joy. We were encouraged to rate our level of joy on a scale of 1-10. It was a sobering assignment and hard to be honest, but God already knew … so why not. An honest assessment was necessary in order to lay hold of a deeper, more abundant joy.

Because true joy is rooted in our sense of God’s fierce love for us, we were challenged to find joy in the commonplace. To look for “joy bombs” that God drops into the ordinariness of our day—a butterfly, that morning cup of coffee, the hug of a loved one, rain pelting the window, flowers dancing in the breeze. We found joy bombs everywhere. We’re still counting.

How about you? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your level of joy? I challenge you to experience a deep, contagious joy by looking for joy bombs throughout your day. Then to double the pleasure—pay it forward. Be a source of God’s love and drop joy into the life of another.

It’s contagious.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Starr

Missing Jesus

“After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.”
Luke 2:43 NIV

Mary felt a gentle tug on her tunic.

“Where’s Jesus?”

She stooped and looked into the large brown eyes of the young boy clinging to his mother’s hand and brushed his tousled hair from his forehead. “I’m sure he’s with Joseph.”

As she lifted her gaze to his mother, tears left tracks on her dust-covered skin. “Jesus continues to remind me that he’s twelve now—’almost a man.’” She stood, brushed her wet cheeks with the back of her hand, and forced a smile. “I suppose I must grow accustomed to him not wanting to tag along with his mother on our trips to and from Jerusalem. He’d rather join in with the banter of the men at the rear of the caravan.”

She reached down and clasped the boy’s hand then continued on the way with her friend.

_________

“Where’s Jesus?”

Joseph kicked a stone along the dusty desert road and chuckled at his friend’s question. “I’m sure he’s with Mary. As much as he likes to be with the men, he worries about his mother. He knows it’s difficult for her to accept the fact that he’s no longer her ‘little boy.’” He shook his head and sighed. “She’ll adjust.”

_________

“Where’s Jesus?”

Mary’s almond-shaped eyes bulged as she stared into Joseph’s anxious face. “Isn’t he

with you?

He swallowed hard. “No. I thought he was with you.”

Her eyes darted through the crowd as she pushed her way past the weary travelers

then pointed in the opposite direction. “Joseph, go that way. We’ve got to find Jesus. I

can’t believe he’s missing!”

_________

 

“Where’s Jesus?”

What’s your reply?

Stop and look around you. Is Jesus missing from your days? How long has it taken you to notice he’s slipped into the background of your activities? Can you even remember the last time you heard his voice?

If not, don’t fret. God’s not abandoned you. Although you’ve drifted, he’s never taken his eyes from you. There’s no place he’d rather be than in the center of your activity. He promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Panic-stricken, Mary and Joseph returned to the place they’d last seen Jesus. Perhaps we should too. They found him in the temple sitting among the teachers discussing the things of the Spirit. Perhaps, we will too. When Mary asked Jesus why he had stayed behind, he replied, “Didn’t you know, I must be about my Father’s business?” Perhaps, we should be too.

Are you missing Jesus? When was the last time you opened God’s word, darkened the door of his house, or surrounded yourself with his family? Take time to be still and focus on his Word. Ask him to meet you there. You’ll find him—I promise.

Blessings,

Starr

 

Something to Crow About

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways”
(1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)

“I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!” —Peter Pan

 

Chiming in on this mantra as a child, seemed like a noble quest—like something I should crow about—but in reality, as an adult, I know this way of thinking is only fun in fairy tales. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fun and games, but refusing to own up to grown-up attitudes and responsibilities ushers in mountains of hardship and pain, not only for me but for others.

 

God’s word tells us, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV).


What childish ways do you hold onto? In what areas do you refuse to grow up? Have you spoken like a child, thought like a child, or acted like a child lately?


I think not, you say?


Think again.


When was the last time you insisted on your own way? Took something that wasn’t yours? Didn’t care what others thought? Wasted time? Talked about someone behind their back or spoke unkind words to their face?


Stings, doesn’t it?


Believe me. I feel your pain.


Perhaps we should change our mantra. How does this sound? “I wanna grow up.

I wanna grow up. I wanna grow up. That’s me!”


Yep! Letting go of our childish ways is definitely something to grow as well as crow about.


Ready? All together now…

Blessings,

Starr